Niagara Falls, New York

September 19, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Yashica LM TLR Camera and Film, Kodak Double-X, Fomapan 200, Sekonic Twinmate L-208 Light MeterYashica LM and FilmTLR Camera This was a day off from work dedicated to hiking and photography and as an added bonus my wife joined me. What was not to like? And who would not like a 4-day workweek? My plans called for an exploration of some new trails as well as for revisiting some well known ones. It was time to hop in the car and drive north to Niagara Falls, NY.

First to the new trails. We walked around the Niagara Falls State Park many times before and hiked the Whirlpool State Park and Devil's Hole State Park as many times. However, we always skipped the area in between. I am not sure what triggered the thought but one day I ended up on the New York State's website for Niagara Gorge Trails and identified Trails #4 and #3 as hiking targets. The website stated there was some water damage to Trail #4 and it would not take us all the way to the Whirlpool Bridges but it should be open to and a little bit past its intersection with Trail #3. At this planning stage, I planned on hiking down and back up the same way. While I always prefer loops that was not an option here, or so it appeared on the map.

And for the trails to revisit? That would very much depend on how much time the new exploration would take. Read on to see what happened.

Whirlpool Rapids Bridges, Niagara Falls, NY. Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23.Whirlpool Rapids BridgesNiagara Falls, NY

Whirlpool Rapids Bridges, Niagara Falls, NY
Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23

After parking at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center and seeing the blue skies and full sun I loaded my Yashica LM TLR with Fomapan 100 (a black and white negative film) and we headed down the trail. I also had an orange filter affixed on the taking lens of the camera to darken the blue skies and avoid the washed out look. And yes, there are public restrooms available to make hiking more comfortable.

All along the trail I was looking for an opening in the trees towards the river hoping to get a view back to the Falls or forward to the Whirlpool Bridges. In the end, the trail offered both and in two different varieties. There was an official lookout, and in one or two places there was an opening in the trees I liked, as in the photograph above.

Across the Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, NY. Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23.Across the Rainbow BridgeNiagara Falls, NY

Creek Gate
Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23

While trail #4 headed towards the Whirlpool Bridges, trail #3 turned our direction almost 180 and headed towards Rainbow Bridge and Niagara Falls, completely descending to the riverbanks. Continuing up the river we reached a point where the river widened quite a bit, which opened up an interesting vantage point as if from the middle of the river.

Then, the hike took us to the paved observation deck you can see in the photo above on the left. There was a heavyweight lift that can probably raise and lower ships into the river, but that is my guess here, I did not further look into its purpose. You can see its tall column in the above photo too. And the most surprising feature for the first time visitors found at that location? An elevator! The Schoellkopf Public Elevator in what remains of the Schoellkopf Power Plant directly connects the parking lot where this whole adventure started with the deck down below and cuts the travel time down to seconds.

I did have some doubts, this was meant to be an outdoors hiking day and using an elevator felt like massive cheating. Elevator? Hike back? In the end, the elevator won. The hike was not a loop but rather a there and back arrangement, thus my motivation to explore sunk a bit. Also, if a chunk of time could be saved here we'd have time for another walk in the area, right?

Storm over Niagara Falls, NY. Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23.Storm over Niagara FallsNiagara Falls, NY

Storm over Niagara Falls, NY
Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23

As soon as we walked out of the elevator and looked towards the Falls, we could see a dramatic weather change. An ominous storm was moving in and it seemed like the outdoors activity might be in danger. However, the weather radar seemed to have good news. It was showing a relatively narrow front moving through. Solution? We decided on a lunch break in a restaurant we'd not been in before either and took advantage of already being this far north.

The planned worked perfectly. After lunch, rain stopped and the heavy clouds were slowly moving past. We could see nice weather in the west. Thus, we headed for my favorite walk along the American Falls over the Green Island and to Goat Island. We walked down to Luna Island to see the Bridal Veil Falls. I always enjoy the view of the river rushing down there. Then we continued to the tip of the Goat Island to enjoy the above view of the American Falls. The lighting conditions were insane! The storm moved past us but filled the sky in that direction while it was already sunny overhead and behind us. You can even see a rainbow in the photo above, even though I must admit black and white photography may not be the best way to present one. Yes, that subtle white bow on the left is a rainbow.

Rushing Down to the Falls, Niagara Falls, NY. Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23.Rushing Down to the FallsNiagara Falls, NY

Rushing Down to the Falls
Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23

To add to the day's step count we walked further around the Horseshoe Falls to the Three Sisters Islands. I still love the area quite a bit, however, a dose of nostalgia usually hits me. I definitely liked that location even more before it became civilized. Paved paths and fences have been installed for safety. I miss the days when one could freely wonder about the islands looking for just the perfect photo spot. It also used to be easier to capture the natural look of the Upper Niagara Rapids without the fences finding their way into one's photograph.

Canada Down the River, Niagara Falls, NY. Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23.Canada Down the RiverNiagara Falls, NY

Canada Down the River, Niagara Falls, NY
Yashica LM, Fomapan 100, D-23

The last two photographs of today's post are literally back to back. They are both taken from the bridge connecting the Three Sisters Islands with Goat Island. First, a view up the river and second, a view towards Niagara Falls even though there is no sign of those. I always enjoy looking at the many islands in the river making the location look more "wild" than it really is. And those buildings? You are looking at the other river bank to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

After this stop, it was time to head back to the Niagara Discovery Center parking lot. for a return drive home. If only one could spend this much time walking or hiking daily!

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

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